Press release from the Louisiana Department of Health
March 26, 2019
The Louisiana Department of Health and Department of Corrections announced today their selection of Asegua Therapeutics LLC (a subsidiary of Gilead Sciences, Inc.) as their hepatitis C subscription model pharmaceutical partner, to provide the State with unrestricted access to its direct-acting antiviral medication.
The Departments will now establish a contract with Asegua Therapeutics to make its medication, the authorized generic of Epclusa® (sofosbuvir/velpatasvir tablets), available to hepatitis C patients enrolled in Medicaid and to treat incarcerated patients over the next five years.
With this partnership, the Departments of Health and Corrections will have five years of unrestricted access to Asegua Therapeutics’ highly effective, direct-acting antiviral treatment. The medication has an overall cure rate of 98 percent across all six main types of hepatitis C.
Dr. Rebekah Gee, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health, said with today’s announcement Louisiana has reached a significant milestone toward establishing the nation’s first subscription model for hepatitis C treatment.
“The next step is to complete the contract between Asegua and our agency,” said Gee. “We were extremely pleased that three manufacturers offered proposals, with the plan submitted by Asegua offering us a clear path forward to offer a hepatitis C cure to our most vulnerable patients.”
Gee said she expects to have a contract in place by June 1, with the official start of the subscription model and implementation of the State’s Hepatitis C elimination plan anticipated a month later on July 1.
James LeBlanc, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections, said the partnership will help patients who are incarcerated be cured of hepatitis C.
“Our mission is to enhance public safety. By curing these offenders, we are releasing healthier individuals to the communities, and we are protecting the public by further preventing the spread of the hepatitis C epidemic into Louisiana’s towns and cities,” LeBlanc said.
Less than 3 percent of Medicaid patients in Louisiana who have hepatitis C were treated last year. Thanks to this innovative new partnership between the State and Asegua, Louisiana has a goal of treating more than 10,000 Medicaid-enrolled and incarcerated individuals by the end of 2020.
“We are excited that Asegua has been selected to partner with the Department of Health and look forward to working on an agreement for this groundbreaking subscription model to increase access to a cure for people living with hepatitis C in Louisiana,” said Gregg Alton, a representative for Asegua. “This is an important step forward on the path to eliminating the virus in Louisiana.”